The signs for Pumpkin Spice Lattes in Starbuck’s windows are in full swing, shop windows are loaded with Santas and twinkling trees, and Black Friday deals are kicking into overload. These are some of the cues for dropping temperatures too, which means your skin needs some extra TLC to get through the onslaught of the winter season.
Face and Hand Creams
According to board certified dermatologist Jessie Cheung, M.D., from Dupage Dermatology in Illinois, “When the seasons change, so do your skin’s needs. Cold, dry winter air and central heating can deplete the skin’s moisture and hydration levels. When that happens, epidermal cells lose their ability to function as a protective barrier. They flatten and flake, causing disruption in the skin’s barrier function, which in turn can make your skin dry, dull, itchy, and tight. Combat the effects of winter on your skin by repairing that barrier and sealing in moisture with rich emollients and humectants like hyaluronic acid.”
Lips, hands, and nails can be especially problematic because these areas tend to get more daily exposure to cold weather, winds, chemicals and the sun. Switching your daily skin care regimen to thicker, more emollient products will help keep the natural moisture in your skin where it needs as much as it can get.
“Nighttime is an ideal time to accelerate the natural repair and healing process. I recommend SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E, which is loaded with potent antioxidants to rejuvenate your skin while you sleep. Keep skin healthy during the day by using only gentle cleansers that won’t strip your skin, and don’t forget a daily dose of SPF30. Even on cloudy winter days, UV rays that cause photodamage and skin cancer are still present,” says Dr. Cheung.
Staying on top of winter’s harmful effects is all about barrier protection. As New York City dermatologist Judith Hellman, MD says, “It is important to realize that the air from both the heat cranking inside and the wind from the outside from wind is much drier in the winter and it wants to suck moisture from the surface of our skin. Don’t forget the benefits of physical barrier protection for compromised skin. EpiCeram® from Puracap Pharmaceutical has the ability to help repair and heal the skin barrier because it contains the skin’s natural level of three essential lipids, such as ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids, which are reduced if you suffer from eczema or atopic dermatitis that can be exacerbated during colder months.”
Dry skin also brings peeling and chapped lips that can split, crack and flake from the cold. Use a soothing lip balm with an SPF for daytime use. ChapStick® Dual Ended Hydration Lock Day & Night is ultra conditioning to deliver eight hours of extra moisture from tamanu oil and natural butters at night time. For severe dry, cracked lips, Dr. Hellman also recommends EpiCeram®-L Lip Care.
For the hands, New York City plastic surgeon Bryan G. Forley, MD, FACS suggests using lotion several times a day. “Apply hand lotion after washing your hands and before putting on gloves,” says Dr. Forley. “And be sure to carry some lotion or hand cream in your purse with you to use whenever your hands could use a little extra hydration. Wearing gloves or keeping your hands in your pockets also helps to prevent cracking fingertips and palms.”
Try to avoid scented body moisturizing products, which can often be irritating to compromised skin. Look for these specific ingredients that help draw moisture to the skin and retain it on even the most delicate skin types:
- Ceramides and synthetic ceramides
- Hyaluronic acid
- Dimethicone and glycerin
- Lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum
Dr. Forley recommends using EltaMD Moisture-Rich Body Crème’s ceramide-enhanced formula with enzymes and niacinamide twice a day for best results.
Another option is AmLactin ® Cerapeutic™ Restoring Body Lotion, which contains ceramides to help strengthen the skin’s protective moisture barrier, as well as alpha-hydroxy acid for gentle exfoliation.
A deeper exfoliation can be achieved by scheduling clinical treatments every four to six weeks to get rid of dead, dull skin cells that tend to build up. For that purpose Dr. Forley advocates SilkPeel® DermalInfusion.
“Regular SilkPeel treatments work very well to keep skin healthy, smooth and hydrated year round. By infusing a customized combination of solutions into the skin for maximum penetration, we can jump-start the effects of a daily active skin care regimen, increase hydration, reverse pigmentation, and control acne breakouts, all while keeping pores open and clean,” he says. “It’s an ideal treatment for men and women of all skin types and ages.”
But not all winter beauty tips involve sophisticated lotions and beauty appointments.
One of the most popular dermatologist-recommended pre-winter skin strategies is to bypass long, hot showers. A humidifier is also recommended to combat the effects of dry, winter air and moisture-robbing indoor heating systems throughout the night.
Lastly, hats, wooly gloves, and thick scarves are a must when the temperatures drop below freezing. Add a face mask when the temperate dips into single digits and if you will be exposed to the elements for longer periods, like on the slopes.